Sunday night's new episode of Family Guy made one point very clear: FOX's long-running animated sitcom will be phasing out the use of gay jokes as it continues forward.
During the new episode this weekend, Peter Griffin squared off against an animated version of Donald Trump, or the "fat idiot who once had a hit television show and who over time has worn out his welcome," as he's called on the show. After taking a job as Trump's latest press secretary, Peter quits when he catches his new boss assaulting his daughter, Meg. During this exchange, Peter tells Trump that his show will be "phasing out" the use of gay jokes in future episodes.
After the show, executive producers Rich Appel and Alec Sulkin spoke to TVLine and addressed the issue.
"Kind of, yes," said Sulkin, when asked if the show was truly phasing out the gay jokes. "If you look at a show from 2005 or 2006 and put it side by side with a show from 2018 or 2019, they’re going to have a few differences. Some of the things we felt comfortable saying and joking about back then, we now understand is not acceptable."
"It’s almost unique to Family Guy, though I can think of one other show that’s been on the air longer," Appel added. "But if a show has literally been on the air for 20 years, the culture changes. And it’s not us reacting and thinking, 'They won’t let us [say certain things].' No, we’ve changed too. The climate is different, the culture is different and our views are different. They’ve been shaped by the reality around us, so I think the show has to shift and evolve in a lot of different ways."
In regards to the showdown with Trump in the episode, the producers explained that the goal of the show isn't to take one side of the political spectrum, and the history of the show backs that up.
"We’ve had some episodes in the past that had some left leanings in them, but we take hard shots all around," Sulkin said. "We’ve made fun of the Clintons and Barack Obama. It’s not like we would avoid anyone because we vote this way or that way. In any time that Family Guy has been on, we’ve pointed out idiots and the dumb things they do. This just happens to be our current person, and it would be no different if a Democrat were doing something idiotic, which they do."
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